From a “person of interest,” police has identified Fidel Sheldon Arcenas as prime suspect in the killing of his former wife Tania Camille Dee, a bank teller of Rizal Commercial and Banking Corp. Binondo, Manilabranch.
Arcenas is the son and namesake of Fidel M. Arcenas who served as Pampanga provincial administrator during the incumbency of Gov. Mark Lapid and is chief operating officer for administration and finance of the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority headed by Lapid.
The elder Arcenas is also known as a key political adviser and strategist of Senator Lito Lapid. Reports said Arcenas went on leave Monday after his son was implicated in the killing.
Court records shows that on April 30, 1997, Arcenas was charged with “attempted homicide” by a certain Anne Manaloto under Criminal Case No. 97-814. Arcenas was reportedly the boyfriend of the younger sister of Manaloto identified as Malou. Arcenas reportedly volunteered to bring home Anne from a party and allegedly started to molest her while inside his vehicle. But Anne resisted Arcenas’ sexual advances. Arcenas reportedly mauled Anne after he got rejected.
After 14 years, on July 5, 2011, Arcenas was finally convicted of the same charge by Municipal Trial Court (MTC) 3 Judge Gemma Theresa B. Logronio.
After his conviction, Arcenas applied and was granted probation on November 15, 2011 since “his case was probationable,” according to Chief Parole and Probation Officer Isagani Villena.
“We are still waiting if new charges will be filed against him which will automatically mean a violation and cancellation of his probation,” said Villena.
“We were also surprised of the news because he was very active in the therapeutic community (TC) program,” he said.
Arcenas’ four-year probation is set to expire on November had he not figured in the murder of his wife, according to Villena.
He also said Arcenas was reporting regularly to him and was even present in the TC activity on June 8. But Arcenas already failed to report to the office on June 24 for a seminar, said Villena.
Dee went missing on June 21 after reportedly agreeing to meet Arcenas in this city a day earlier.
Reports said Dee went to see Arcenas who allegedly told her he will give her a car.
Dee’s pictures were posted on social media after she went missing which immediately went viral.
On the night of June 20 at around 6 p.m., a CCTV footage showed Dee entering Niji Japanese Restaurant located along Don Juico Avenue just outside the Clark Freeport’s south perimeter fence. Two minutes later, Arcenas also came into the restaurant.
Dee and Arcenas were caught several times by the CCTV until they finally left together at around 7 p.m. It was the last time that Dee was ever seen alive by anyone.
Relatives and friends of Dee posted her picture on facebook after she failed to come home.
Meanwhile, a spot report from the Pampanga Criminal Investigation and Detection Team (CIDT) said at about 9 p.m. on June 27, Regina Tinio Dychioco, mother of Arcenas’ girlfriend and live-in partner Angela, told the police that her daughter and her boyfriend borrowed the keys to the house she owned located at Blk. 10 Lot 4, Lilian St., Sta. Maria Subdivision in Barangay Balibago here.
Dychioco said Arcenas returned the keys of the said house last June 26 and revealed that she knows a certain Tania Dee who was reported missing since June 20 as the ex-wife of Arcenas. Dychioco also disclosed that Dee might already be dead and buried at the backyard of the said house.
CIDT provincial head, Chief Insp. Ferdinand DG Aguilar, said he immediately formed a team and together with the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) went to the house.
At about 1 a.m. on June 28, Aguilar said they found the body of a woman buried about three feet below the ground.
Aguilar said the corpse was “in a semi-fetal position clad in maong denim pants and striped shirt.” The head of the corpse was “wrapped in a plastic trash bag with tape and bath towel,” he added.
The SOCO team led by Chief Insp. Bernalen R. Agpalasin discovered a gunshot wound that entered at the back of the head and exited in her face.
The cadaver was brought to the Pangilinan Funeral Parlor in Barangay Sto. Entierro here where it was later identified by relatives as that of the missing bank teller.
Dee had filed complaints of violation of RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children against Arcenas while they were still living together.
Dee was the second wife of Arcenas who earlier sired a daughter from his union with one Maria Elena Vitug.
Angela, who may also have knowledge of the crime, was reportedly sent to a drug rehabilitation center in Cavite.
Arcenas was not in his house in Carmenville Subdivision in Barangay Cutcut when CIDT agents went there to invite him for questioning.
He remains at large.